While she does get emotional here and there, sweet Carleigh was ready to let go of the rest of her hair that remained.
Courtney Edwards has been watching her little girl go through the effects of alopecia areata, a condition where the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss. Carleigh, who is now eight years old, has been watching patches of her thick hair fall out in clumps in clumps, revealing big bare spots on her scalp. In an emotional video, Edwards revealed that her brave little girl had explained her condition to her classmates and asked them to not bully her because of it. "Then she broke down and started weeping in my arms,” her mom said fighting back tears.
It's not been easy for the mom and daughter but they've been trying their best to embrace this new normal. As the family received encouraging words of support from the online community as well as close loved ones, the journey started to get slightly easier. One day, Edwards’ sister introduced her to a friend from college whose young daughter also has alopecia. Carleigh got talking to her new friend and finally came to the decision of letting her hair go: completely.
“She was the one that said, ‘Mommy, I’m ready to cut my hair,’ and I was like, ‘OK, fine. Let’s just think about it,’” Edwards told TODAY. A few days later, she asserted her decision. “She was like, ‘Mommy, if you don’t cut it. I’m gonna cut it.’” And so her mom gave her young child a pair of scissors as they sat in the family’s kitchen along with Edwards' husband Kelan Sr., and their three other children, Kelan Jr., 9, Chloe, 5, and Kohl, 3. “My name is Carleigh. I have alopecia. I am ready to cut my hair,” she says in an emotional video taken by her mom, adding, “Because I am still beautiful.”
Despite a few moments where Carleigh seemed hesitant and emotional as she fought back tears, overall she seemed happier to feel free and let her hair go on her terms. Now she defines beauty as something way more than what's just on the surface.“It means bravery and love and kindness,” she shared. Her family also showed the little girl solidarity as Kelan Sr. and her big brother Kelan Jr. shaved their heads as well. “It’s very uncommon to see a little girl who has no hair at all. I didn’t want her to go through that alone,” Carleigh’s dad said. “She knew how important my hair was to me,” he admitted. “And I knew how important her hair was to her. I wanted to show her that she has support from her father, and she has support from our family throughout life.